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The Civil War & A Microcosm of Jewish History

By James Nichols-Worley, IV Form

The Civil War & A Microcosm of Jewish History

The American Civil War is a conflict unlike many others in modern, and especially American, history, not just because of the battles fought in America’s fields and cities, but also because of the battles that occurred in the pulpits and the hearts of the nation. While the role of Christian denominations in the war has been analyzed extensively by historians, the role of Jewish Americans during the conflict remains inspected to a far lesser degree. From civil to military to religious life, Jewish Americans affected, and were affected by, almost all parts of the war, from slavery to the battles themselves. The participation of Jewish Americans in the United States Civil War represents a more nebulous Jewish experience: that of the persecution and discrimination against Jewish peoples, oppression perpetrated by some Jewish Americans, and especially the interaction of Judaism and the Jewish faith with the harsh reality of life.